Chymase has been extensively studied with respect to its role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease, and is notable for its role in the generation of angiotensin II, a mediator crucial in vascular remodelling. However, in more recent years an association between chymase and several inflammatory diseases, including gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have been described. Such studies, to date, with respect to IBD at least, are descriptive in the clinical context; nonetheless preclinical studies implicate chymase in the pathogenesis of gut inflammation. However, studies to elucidate the role of chymase in functional bowel disease are in their infancy, but suggest a plausible role for chymase in contributing to some of the phenotypic changes observed in such disorders, namely increased epithelial permeability. In this short review we will summarise the current knowledge on the pathophysiological role of chymase and its inhibition with reference to inflammation and tissue injury outside of the gastrointestinal tract, and will discuss its potential role in gastrointestinal disorders. We speculate that chymase may be a novel therapeutic target in the gastrointestinal tract, and as such warrants preclinical investigation of its inhibition in gastrointestinal diseases. © 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.