We previously demonstrated a specific gluten-induced response in the rectal mucosa of coeliac patients. In the present study, we have evaluated the immune response to local gliadin challenge in the nasal mucosa of coeliac patients preliminary to exploring the feasibility of immune modulation by the nasal route. The local response to gliadin was evaluated on non-invasive scrapings of nasal mucosa. Cells harvested from the nasal scrapings of 21 coeliac patients and 12 healthy controls were counted after immunohistochemical staining. Six hours after gliadin challenge, the total number of cells was increased in coeliacs but not in controls. The increase was due principally to lymphoid cells and granulocytes. CD3+ cells doubled after gliadin challenge, but not after albumin control challenge. There was a similar rise in CD25+ cells, whereas the number of ICAM-expressing cells did not increase significantly. In control subjects, both gliadin and albumin induced a moderate but not significant increase in total cell number. In conclusion, the gliadin antigen provokes a mild inflammatory response in coeliac nasal mucosa.