Intestinal inflammation can impair mucosal healing, thereby establishing a vicious cycle leading to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the signaling networks driving chronic inflammation remain unclear. Here we report that CD4+ T cells isolated from patients with IBD produce high levels of interleukin-22 binding protein (IL-22BP), the endogenous inhibitor of the tissue-protective cytokine IL-22. Using mouse models, we demonstrate that IBD development requires T cell-derived IL-22BP. Lastly, intestinal CD4+ T cells isolated from IBD patients responsive to treatment with antibodies against tumor necrosis factor-α (anti-TNF-α), the most effective known IBD therapy, exhibited reduced amounts of IL-22BP expression but still expressed IL-22. Our findings suggest that anti-TNF-α therapy may act at least in part by suppressing IL-22BP and point toward a more specific potential therapy for IBD.