Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an immunoregulatory disorder, associated with a chronic and inappropriate mucosal immune response to commensal bacteria, underlying disease states such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) in humans. Granzyme M (GrzM) is a serine protease expressed by cytotoxic lymphocytes, in particular natural killer (NK) cells. Granzymes are thought to be involved in triggering cell death in eukaryotic target cells; however, some evidence supports their role in inflammation. The role of GrzM in the innate immune response to mucosal inflammation has never been examined. Here, we discover that patients with UC, unlike patients with CD, display high levels of GrzM mRNA expression in the inflamed colon. By taking advantage of well-established models of experimental UC, we revealed that GrzM-deficient mice have greater levels of inflammatory indicators during dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced IBD, including increased weight loss, greater colon length reduction and more severe intestinal histopathology. The absence of GrzM expression also had effects on gut permeability, tissue cytokine/chemokine dynamics, and neutrophil infiltration during disease. These findings demonstrate, for the first time, that GrzM has a critical role during early stages of inflammation in UC, and that in its absence colonic inflammation is enhanced.