Ulcerative colitis is characterized by elevated rates of epithelial cell apoptosis, and an up-regulation of pro-apoptotic cytokines including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Recently, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) has been shown to promote apoptosis. In addition, pharmacologic ACE inhibition (ACE-I) both prevents apoptosis and reduces TNF-alpha expression in vitro. We hypothesized that ACE-I, using enalaprilat, would decrease colonic epithelial cell apoptosis and reduce colitis severity in the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis model in mice. We assessed the severity of colitis, and colonic epithelial cell apoptosis, after administration of DSS. Mice were given either daily ACE-I treatment or daily placebo. ACE-I treatment markedly improved clinical outcomes. In addition, ACE-I treatment significantly reduced the maximum histopathologic colitis grade. ACE-I also dramatically reduced the epithelial apoptotic rate. To investigate the mechanism by which ACE-I reduced apoptosis; we measured TNF-alpha, Bcl-2, and Bax expression. TNF-alpha mRNA was significantly lower with ACE-I treatment compared to placebo at every time point, as was the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2. We conclude that ACE-I reduces the severity of DSS-induced colitis and reduces epithelial cell apoptosis.