© 2014 European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. The fourth scientific workshop of the European Crohn's and Colitis Organization (ECCO) focused on the relevance of intestinal fibrosis in the disease course of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The objective was to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of intestinal fibrosis, to identify useful markers and imaging modalities of fibrosis in order to assess its presence and progression, and, finally, to point out possible approaches for the prevention and the treatment of fibrosis.The results of this workshop are presented in three separate manuscripts. This first section describes the most important mechanisms that contribute to the initiation and progression of intestinal fibrosis in IBD including the cellular and molecular mediators, the extracellular matrix molecules and matrix metalloproteinases/tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases-system, the microbiota products, the role of fat, genetic and epigenetic factors, as well as the currently available experimental models. Furthermore, it identifies unanswered questions in the field of intestinal fibrosis and provides a framework for future research.