The pathogenesis of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is unknown but these forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be associated with an inability of the intestinal mucosa to protect itself from luminal challenges and/ or inappropriate repair following intestinal injury. Numerous cell populations regulate these broad processes through the expression of a complex array of peptides and other agents. Growth factors can be distinguished by their actions regulating cell proliferation. These factors also mediate processes such as extracellular matrix formation, cell migration and differentiation, immune regulation, and tissue remodeling. Several families of growth factors may play an important role in IBD including: epidermal growth factor family (EGF) [transforming growth factor α (TGFα), EGF itself, and others], the transforming growth factor (HGFβ) super family, insulin-like growth factors (IGF), fibroblast growth factors (FGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), trefoil factors, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and others. Collectively these families may determine susceptibility of IBD mucosa to injury and facilitate tissue repair.