What is Alvetex?

Alvetex is REPROCELL’s multi-award winning, highly porous polystyrene scaffold designed for 3D cell culture.

Cells grown in Alvetex maintain their in vivo morphology, behaviour and responsiveness within an in vitro model system. Alvetex enables cells to maintain their natural shape and to freely interact with neighbouring cells in 3D so that they function in a more physiologically relevant manner.

Presented as a 200 μm thick membrane, Alvetex has been adapted to fit a variety of conventional cell culture plasticware formats. Each product unit has been terminally sterilised by gamma irradiation and remains sterile until its blister pack is opened. Alvetex requires an ethanol wash prior to use to render it hydrophilic. Alvetex does not degrade during normal use.

  • No specialist equipment is required
  • Easy to use
  • No changes to media and optimized cell feeding protocols
  • Compatible with the majority of down stream analytical techniques

See our online repository of Protocols, Application Notes and White Papers.


Different Alvetex architectures to suit your research needs

Alvetex is now available in two types: Alvetex Scaffold and Alvetex Strata. Both materials are presented as 200 μm thick membranes of highly porous cross-linked polystyrene. The difference between them is their fine structure and architecture.

Alvetex Scaffold, our market leading product, is primarily designed for three dimensional culture of dissociated mammalian cells within the scaffold. Average void size: 42 μm.

Alvetex Strata, our second generation product, is primarily designed to support the growth of cells and intact tissues on the surface of the membrane. Average void size: 15 μm.


Alvetex Scaffold SEM
Scanning electron micrograph of Alvetex Scaffold in transverse section. Thickness: 200 μm.
Alvetex Strata SEM
Scanning electron micrograph of Alvetex Strata in transverse section. Thickness: 200 μm.


Alvetex enhances the biological relevance of your cell culture research

By accurately recreating the complex cellular organisation and environment experienced by cells within their native tissues, Alvetex enables more accurate investigation into the study of cell behaviour and function than ever before possible within conventional 2D model systems.

Cells maintain their natural 3D shape and structure within Alvetex, freely interacting with adjacent cells and laying down extra-cellular matrix which often leads to the formation of “mini slabs” of tissue-like structures. Using Alvetex, the cell biologist can create in vitro models which more accurately mimic the tissue environment, gaining a much deeper insight into the complexities of cell function and behaviour.


Cell culture 2D vs Alvetex 3D

Cells grown on conventional 2D surfaces (A and B) adopt a typical flattened morphology covering a large surface area in horizontal x-y plane (A) and have a reduced height in the vertical z plane (B). In comparison, cells maintained in Alvetex Scaffold (C and D) retain a more cuboidal morphology and 3D cell structure, particularly in the z-plane. (Data generated during a collaborative project between Reinnervate Ltd and LGC Standards   data now published in the following journal: Title: Rat primary hepatocytes show enhanced performance and sensitivity to acetaminophen during three dimensional culture on a novel polystyrene scaffold designed for routine use. Maaike Schutte, Bridget Fox, Marc Baradez, Alison Devonshire, Jesus Minguez, Maria Bokhari, Stefan Przyborski, Damian Marshall. Assay and Drug Development Technologies DOI: 10.1089/adt.2011.0371)


Typical mammalian cells are around 10-25 μm in size and are rarely further than 0-50 μm from another cell or 100-200 μm from a source of nutrients via a blood capillary. Alvetex is made of the same polystyrene as used in traditional 2D cell culture plastic-ware. Alvetex has been designed to enable cells to reproduce natural shape and form to enable the cell biologist to maintain the integrity of the micro-scale in vivo cell environment within simple in vitro models.

Alvetex not only preserves the native 3D shape of individual cells, it also acts to bring cells together in a more natural manner. This results in the formation of tissue-like structures and cell-to-cell interactions that are more representative of normal tissue function.


Murine Keratinocytes grown in Alvetex Scaffold

3D culture of murine keratinocytes on Alvetex Scaffold. The transparent structures are Alvetex. Scale bar 20 μm.


Triple staining of HepG2 in Alvetex Scaffold

Triple staining of HepG2 in Alvetex Scaffold. Scale bar 20 μm.