Leon Schurgers


Initially trained in clinical chemistry and hematology at the University of Applied Science, Prof. Leon Schurgers obtained his PhD at the Department of Biochemistry within CARIM on the role of vitamin K1 and K2 on bone metabolism and cardiovascular disease. He worked as post-doc on a Dutch Heart Foundation grant on the role of matrix Gla-protein synthesized by vascular smooth muscle cell and calcification in collaboration with the group of Prof. Catherine Shanahan (Cambridge, UK).

In 2009, he was appointed on a tenured position at the Department of Biochemistry. After entering the Toptalent programme (Maastricht UMC+) in 2016, he was appointed as Professor of Biochemistry of Vascular Calcification in 2017. He is vice-chair of the department of Biochemistry.

The focus of his current work is elucidating the molecular mechanisms of vitamin K-dependent proteins (VKDP) by which vascular calcification is initiated and propagated. Key cellular events include activation and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and the formation of extracellular vesicles containing VKDP. The regulation of VKDP biosynthesis, its sites of action and its putative relationship with VSMC phenotypic switching is insufficient to understand the pathogenesis of vascular calcification at a level that allows the development of novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies for VKDP. Importantly, our work will help to understand the paradoxal observation that patients with low vitamin K-status during oral anticoagulant treatment develop enhanced vascular calcification and our results might provide new insights in prognostic and preventive measures.

He is Chairman of the steering scientific board on the world-wide quality assurance scheme for vitamin K detection and member of the scientific advisory boards of the Dutch Kidney foundation, the Dutch Thrombosis society and NWO Life Science and Health.

Department of Biochemistry
Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER Maastricht
PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
Room number: 4314
T: +31(0)43 388 16 80

  • 2020
    • Zwakenberg, S. R., de Jong, P. A., Hendriks, E. J., Westerink, J., Spiering, W., de Borst, G. J., Cramer, M. J., Bartstra, J. W., Doesburg, T., Rutters, F., van der Heijden, A. A., Schalkwijk, C., Schurgers, L. J., van der Schouw, Y. T., Beulens, J. W. J., & SMART Study Grp (2020). Intimal and medial calcification in relation to cardiovascular risk factors. PLOS ONE, 15(7), [0235228]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0235228
    • Peeters, F. E. C. M., Dudink, E. A. M. P., Weijs, B., Fabritz, L., Chua, W., Kietselaer, B. L. J. H., Wildberger, J. E., Meex, S. J. R., Kirchhof, P., Crijns, H. J. G. M., & Schurgers, L. J. (2020). Biomarkers Associated With Aortic Valve Calcification: Should We Focus on Sex Specific Processes?Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 8, [604]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.00604
    • Akbulut, A. C., Pavlic, A., Petsophonsakul, P., Halder, M., Maresz, K., Kramann, R., & Schurgers, L. (2020). Vitamin K2 Needs an RDI Separate from Vitamin K1. Nutrients, 12(6), [1852]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061852
    • Jaminon, A. M. G., Dai, L., Qureshi, A. R., Evenepoel, P., Ripsweden, J., Soderberg, M., Witasp, A., Olauson, H., Schurgers, L. J., & Stenvinkel, P. (2020). Matrix Gla protein is an independent predictor of both intimal and medial vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease. Scientific Reports, 10(1), [6586]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63013-8
    • Kaesler, N., Goettsch, C., Weis, D., Schurgers, L., Hellmann, B., Floege, J., & Kramann, R. (2020). Magnesium but not nicotinamide prevents vascular calcification in experimental uraemia. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 35(1), 65-73. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfy410
    • Vossen, L. M., Kroon, A. A., Schurgers, L. J., & de Leeuw, P. W. (2020). Pharmacological and Nutritional Modulation of Vascular Calcification. Nutrients, 12(1), [100]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010100
  • 2019
    • Peeters, M. T. J., Houben, R., Postma, A. A., van Oostenbrugge, R. J., Schurgers, L. J., & Staals, J. (2019). Vitamin K Antagonist Use and Risk for Intracranial Carotid Artery Calcification in Patients With Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Frontiers in Neurology, 10, [1278]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.01278
    • Dekker, L. H., Vinke, P. C., Riphagen, I. J., Minovic, I., Eggersdorfer, M. L., van den Heuvel, E. G. H. M., Schurgers, L. J., Kema, I. P., Bakker, S. J. L., & Navis, G. (2019). Cheese and Healthy Diet: Associations With Incident Cardio-Metabolic Diseases and All-Cause Mortality in the General Population. Frontiers in nutrition, 6, [185]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00185
    • Jaminon, A., Reesink, K., Kroon, A., & Schurgers, L. (2019). The Role of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells in Arterial Remodeling: Focus on Calcification-Related Processes. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(22), [5694]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225694
    • Zwakenberg, S. R., de Jong, P. A., Bartstra, J. W., van Asperen, R., Westerink, J., de Valk, H., Slart, R. H. J. A., Luurtsema, G., Wolterink, J. M., de Borst, G. J., van Herwaarden, J. A., van de Ree, M. A., Schurgers, L. J., van der Schouw, Y. T., & Beulens, J. W. J. (2019). The effect of menaquinone-7 supplementation on vascular calcification in patients with diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 110(4), 883-890. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz147