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. Since 2021, he chairs the stem cell research facility of the University of Maastricht (SCRUM).

The focus of his current work is elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which vascular remodelling is initiated and propagated. Key cellular events include phenotypic switching of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and the role of oxidative stress, extracellular vesicles and calcification. In this, he collaborates closely with the Cardiothoracic Surgery and Vascular Surgery departments of the Heart and Vessel Center (HVC) of the Maastricht University Medical Center. Patient derived primary SMCs are isolated from vascular tissue and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are generated from patient derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). These iPSCs are used to differentiate into patient specific cardiovascular cells (i.e., cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells and fibroblasts) to study cardiovascular disease.

The underlying causes of SMC phenotypic switching are insufficient to understand the pathogenesis of vascular ageing and calcification at a level that allows development of novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies. In his project line, the Schurgers’ group aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of vitamin K-metabolism in health and vascular disease. Importantly, this 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 to combat vascular ageing.

Professor Schurgers 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 Thrombosis Society.

Department of Biochemistry
Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER Maastricht
PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
Room number: 4.314
T: +31(0)43 388 16 80

  • 2022
    • Clarke, P., Shearer, M. J., Card, D. J., Nichols, A., Ponnusamy, V., Mahaveer, A., Voong, K., Dockery, K., Holland, N., Mulla, S., Hall, L. J., Maassen, C., Lux, P., Schurgers, L. J., & Harrington, D. J. (2022). Exclusively breastmilk-fed preterm infants are at high risk of developing subclinical vitamin K deficiency despite intramuscular prophylaxis at birth. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 20(12), 2773-2785. https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.15874
    • Saritas, T., Reinartz, S., Kruger, T., Ketteler, M., Liangos, O., Labriola, L., Stenvinkel, P., Kopp, C., Westenfeld, R., Evenepoel, P., Siepmann, R., Wied, S., Hilgers, R. D., Schurgers, L., Floege, J., & VitaVasK Investigators (2022). Vitamin K1 and progression of cardiovascular calcifications in hemodialysis patients: the VitaVasK randomized controlled trial. Clinical Kidney Journal, 15(12), 2300-2311. https://doi.org/10.1093/ckj/sfac184
    • Kuppe, C., Ramirez Flores, R. O., Li, Z., Hayat, S., Levinson, R. T., Liao, X., Hannani, M. T., Tanevski, J., Wünnemann, F., Nagai, J. S., Halder, M., Schumacher, D., Menzel, S., Schäfer, G., Hoeft, K., Cheng, M., Ziegler, S., Zhang, X., Peisker, F., ... Kramann, R. (2022). Spatial multi-omic map of human myocardial infarction. Nature, 608(7924), 766-777. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05060-x
    • Roumeliotis, S., Roumeliotis, A., Georgianos, P. I., Thodis, E., Schurgers, L. J., Maresz, K., Eleftheriadis, T., Dounousi, E., Tripepi, G., Mallamaci, F., & Liakopoulos, V. (2022). VItamin K In PEritonial DIAlysis (VIKIPEDIA): Rationale and study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE, 17(8), [e0273102]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0273102
    • Pavlic, A., Bahram Sangani, N., Kerins, J., Nicolaes, G., Schurgers, L., & Reutelingsperger, C. (2022). Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Neutral Sphingomyelinase 2 in the Release of Exosomes and Vascular Calcification. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(16), [9178]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23169178
    • Ebert, T., Tran, N., Schurgers, L., Stenvinkel, P., & Shiels, P. G. (2022). Ageing - Oxidative stress, PTMs and disease. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 86, [101099]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mam.2022.101099
    • Oggero, S., Godec, T., van Gorp, R., Pinto, L. A., Schurgers, J. L., Reutelingsperger, C., Sever, P., Norling, L. V., Perretti, M., & Gupta, A. (2022). Role of plasma extracellular vesicles in prediction of cardiovascular risk and alterations in response to statin therapy in hypertensive patients. Journal of Hypertension, 40(8), 1522-1529. https://doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000003178
    • Klein, L., Ophelders, D. R. M. G., van den Hove, D., Damoiseaux, M., Rutten, B. P. F., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., Schurgers, L. J., & Wolfs, T. G. A. M. (2022). Prenatal administration of multipotent adult progenitor cells modulates the systemic and cerebral immune response in an ovine model of chorioamnionitis. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, 23, [100458]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100458
    • Petsophonsakul, P., Burgmaier, M., Willems, B., Heeneman, S., Stadler, N., Gremse, F., Reith, S., Burgmaier, K., Kahles, F., Marx, N., Natour, E., Bidar, E., Jacobs, M., Mees, B., Reutelingsperger, C., Furmanik, M., & Schurgers, L. (2022). Nicotine promotes vascular calcification via intracellular Ca2+-mediated, Nox5-induced oxidative stress and extracellular vesicle release in vascular smooth muscle cells. Cardiovascular Research, 118(9), 2196-2210. https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab244
    • Jaminon, A. M. G., Rapp, N., Akbulut, A. C., Dzhanaev, R., Reutelingsperger, C. P., Jahnen-Dechent, W., & Schurgers, L. J. (2022). A Semi-Automated and Reproducible Biological-Based Method to Quantify Calcium Deposition In Vitro. Journal of visualized experiment, (184), [e64029]. https://doi.org/10.3791/64029
    • Kremer, D., Groothof, D., Keyzer, C. A., Eelderink, C., Knobbe, T. J., Post, A., van Londen, M., Eisenga, M. F., Schurgers, L. J., Berger, S. P., de Borst, M. H., Bakker, S. J. L., & TransplantLines Investigators (2022). Reply to Janssen et al. Comment on "Kremer et al. Kidney Function-Dependence of Vitamin K-Status Parameters: Results from the TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Studies. Nutrients 2021, 13, 3069". Nutrients, 14(12), [2440]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14122440
    • Bhargava, S., de la Puente-Secades, S., Schurgers, L., & Jankowski, J. (2022). Lipids and lipoproteins in cardiovascular diseases: a classification. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 33(6), 409-423. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tem.2022.02.001
    • Leenders, N. H. J., Bos, C., Hoekstra, T., Schurgers, L. J., Vervloet, M. G., & Hoenderop, J. G. J. (2022). Dietary magnesium supplementation inhibits abdominal vascular calcification in an experimental animal model of chronic kidney disease. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 37(6), 1049-1058. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfac026
    • Viegas, C. S. B., Araújo, N., Carreira, J., Pontes, J. F., Macedo, A. L., Vinhas, M., Moreira, A. S., Faria, T. Q., Grenha, A., de Matos, A. A., Schurgers, L., Vermeer, C., & Simes, D. C. (2022). Nanoencapsulation of Gla-Rich Protein (GRP) as a Novel Approach to Target Inflammation. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(9), [4813]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23094813
    • Stöhr, R., Dirrichs, T., Kneizeh, K., Reinartz, S., Frank, D., Brachmann, J., Schroeder, J., Schurgers, L., Göttsch, C., Keszei, A., Floege, J., Marx, N., Brandenburg, V., & Schuh, A. (2022). Influence of rivaroxaban compared to vitamin K antagonist treatment upon development of cardiovascular calcification in patients with atrial fibrillation and/or pulmonary embolism. Clinical Cardiology, 45(4), 352-358. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.23819
    • Neradova, A., Wasilewski, G., Prisco, S., Leenders, P., Caron, M., Welting, T., van Rietbergen, B., Kramann, R., Floege, J., Vervloet, M. G., & Schurgers, L. J. (2022). Combining phosphate binder therapy with vitamin K2 inhibits vascular calcification in an experimental animal model of kidney failure. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 37(4), 652-662. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfab314
    • van Kuijk, K., Demandt, J. A. F., Perales-Patón, J., Theelen, T. L., Kuppe, C., Marsch, E., de Bruijn, J., Jin, H., Gijbels, M. J., Matic, L., Mees, B. M. E., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., Hedin, U., Biessen, E. A. L., Carmeliet, P., Baker, A. H., Kramann, R. K., Schurgers, L. J., Saez-Rodriguez, J., & Sluimer, J. C. (2022). Deficiency of myeloid PHD proteins aggravates atherogenesis via macrophage apoptosis and paracrine fibrotic signalling. Cardiovascular Research, 118(5), 1232-1246. https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab152
    • Visser, M. P. J., Dofferhoff, A. S. M., van den Ouweland, J. M. W., van Daal, H., Kramers, C., Schurgers, L. J., Janssen, R., & Walk, J. (2022). Corrigendum: Effects of Vitamin D and K on Interleukin-6 in COVID-19. Frontiers in nutrition, 9, [868324]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.868324
    • Kaesler, N., Schreibing, F., Speer, T., Puente-Secades, S. D. L., Rapp, N., Drechsler, C., Kabgani, N., Kuppe, C., Boor, P., Jankowski, V., Schurgers, L., Kramann, R., & Floege, J. (2022). Altered vitamin K biodistribution and metabolism in experimental and human chronic kidney disease. Kidney International, 101(2), 338-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2021.10.029
    • Skenteris, N. T., Seime, T., Witasp, A., Karlöf, E., Wasilewski, G. B., Heuschkel, M. A., Jaminon, A. M. G., Oduor, L., Dzhanaev, R., Kronqvist, M., Lengquist, M., Peeters, F. E. C. M., Söderberg, M., Hultgren, R., Roy, J., Maegdefessel, L., Arnardottir, H., Bengtsson, E., Goncalves, I., ... Matic, L. (2022). Osteomodulin attenuates smooth muscle cell osteogenic transition in vascular calcification. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 12(2), [682]. https://doi.org/10.1002/ctm2.682
    • Visser, M. P. J., Dofferhoff, A. S. M., van den Ouweland, J. M. W., van Daal, H., Kramers, C., Schurgers, L. J., Janssen, R., & Walk, J. (2022). Effects of Vitamin D and K on Interleukin-6 in COVID-19. Frontiers in nutrition, 8, [761191]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2021.761191
    • van der Laan, K. W. F., Reesink, K. D., van der Bruggen, M. M., Jaminon, A. M. G., Schurgers, L. J., Megens, R. T. A., Huberts, W., Delhaas, T., & Spronck, B. (2022). Improved Quantification of Cell Density in the Arterial Wall-A Novel Nucleus Splitting Approach Applied to 3D Two-Photon Laser-Scanning Microscopy. Frontiers in physiology, 12, [814434]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.814434
    • Kaczor, D. M., Kramann, R., Hackeng, T. M., Schurgers, L. J., & Koenen, R. R. (2022). Differential Effects of Platelet Factor 4 (CXCL4) and Its Non-Allelic Variant (CXCL4L1) on Cultured Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(2), [580]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23020580
    • Roumeliotis, S., Liakopoulos, V., & Schurgers, L. J. (2022). Vitamin K supplementation in chronic kidney disease patients: where is the evidence?Current Vascular Pharmacology, 20(2), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570161120666220209145341
  • 2021
    • Tobal, R., Potjewijd, J., van Empel, V. P. M., Ysermans, R., Schurgers, L. J., Reutelingsperger, C. P., Damoiseaux, J. G. M. C., & van Paassen, P. (2021). Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: The Potential Involvement of Innate and Adaptive Immunity. Frontiers in medicine, 8, 806899. [806899]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.806899
    • Dofferhoff, A. S. M., Piscaer, I., Schurgers, L. J., Visser, M. P. J., van den Ouweland, J. M. W., de Jong, P. A., Gosens, R., Hackeng, T. M., van Daal, H., Lux, P., Maassen, C., Karssemeijer, E. G. A., Vermeer, C., Wouters, E. F. M., Kistemaker, L. E. M., Walk, J., & Janssen, R. (2021). Reduced Vitamin K Status as a Potentially Modifiable Risk Factor of Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 73(11), E4039-E4046. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1258
    • Groothof, D., Post, A., Sotomayor, C. G., Keyzer, C. A., Flores-Guerero, J. L., Hak, E., Bos, J. H. J., Schurgers, L. J., Navis, G. J., Gans, R. O. B., Eelderink, C., de Borst, M. H., Bakker, S. J. L., & Riphagen, I. J. (2021). Functional vitamin K status and risk of incident chronic kidney disease and microalbuminuria: a prospective general population-based cohort study. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 36(12), 2290-2299. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfaa304
    • Hariri, E., Kassis, N., Iskandar, J. P., Schurgers, L. J., Saad, A., Abdelfattah, O., Bansal, A., Isogai, T., Harb, S. C., & Kapadia, S. (2021). Vitamin K-2-a neglected player in cardiovascular health: a narrative review. Open Heart, 8(2), [e001715]. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2021-001715
    • Kaesler, N., Schurgers, L. J., & Floege, J. (2021). Vitamin K and cardiovascular complications in chronic kidney disease patients. Kidney International, 100(5), 1023-1036. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2021.06.037
    • Florea, A., Morgenroth, A., Bucerius, J., Schurgers, L. J., & Mottaghy, F. M. (2021). Locking and loading the bullet against micro-calcification. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 28(12), 1370-1375. https://doi.org/10.1177/2047487320911138
    • Rapp, N., Brandenburg, V. M., Kaesler, N., Bakker, S. J. L., Stohr, R., Schuh, A., Evenepoel, P., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Hepatic and Vascular Vitamin K Status in Patients with High Cardiovascular Risk. Nutrients, 13(10), [3490]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103490
    • TransplantLines Investigators (2021). Kidney Function-Dependence of Vitamin K-Status Parameters: Results from the TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Studies. Nutrients, 13(9), [3069]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13093069
    • van Gorp, R. H., Baaten, C. C. F. M. J., Habibi, A., Jaminon, A. M. G., Peeters, F. E. C. M., Leenders, P., Crijns, H. J. G. M. C., Heemskerk, J. W. M., Reutelingsperger, C. P., Spronk, H. M., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Vitamin K antagonist use induces calcification and atherosclerotic plaque progression resulting in increased hypercoagulability. European heart journal open, 1(2), [oeab017]. https://doi.org/10.1093/ehjopen/oeab017
    • Jaminon, A. M. G., Akbulut, A. C., Rapp, N., Kramann, R., Biessen, E. A. L., Temmerman, L., Mees, B., Brandenburg, V., Dzhanaev, R., Jahnen-Dechent, W., Floege, J., Uitto, J., Reutelingsperger, C. P., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Development of the BioHybrid Assay: Combining Primary Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Blood to Measure Vascular Calcification Propensity. Cells, 10(8), [2097]. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10082097
    • Dahlberg, S., Schott, U., Eriksson, E. A., Tahirsylaj, Y., Schurgers, L., & Kander, T. (2021). Intravenous Vitamin K1 for the Correction of Prolonged Prothrombin Times in Non-Bleeding Critically Ill Patients: A Prospective Observational Study. Nutrients, 13(8), [2580]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082580
    • Parikh, S., Ganizada, B., Debeij, G., Natour, E., Maessen, J., Spronck, B., Schurgers, L., Delhaas, T., Huberts, W., Bidar, E., & Reesink, K. (2021). Intra-Operative Video-Based Measurement of Biaxial Strains of the Ascending Thoracic Aorta. Biomedicines, 9(6), [670]. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9060670
    • Dai, L., Schurgers, L., Shiels, P. G., & Stenvinkel, P. (2021). A biomimetic natural sciences approach to understanding the mechanisms of ageing in burden of lifestyle diseases. Clinical Science, 135(10), 1251-1272. https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20201452
    • McBurney, M. I., Blumberg, J. B., Costello, R. B., Eggersdorfer, M., Erdman, J. W., Harris, W. S., Johnson, E. J., Hazels Mitmesser, S., Post, R. C., Rai, D., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Beyond Nutrient Deficiency-Opportunities to Improve Nutritional Status and Promote Health Modernizing DRIs and Supplementation Recommendations. Nutrients, 13(6), [1844]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061844
    • Seime, T., Akbulut, A. C., Liljeqvist, M. L., Siika, A., Jin, H., Winski, G., van Gorp, R. H., Karlöf, E., Lengquist, M., Buckler, A. J., Kronqvist, M., Waring, O. J., Lindeman, J. H. N., Biessen, E. A. L., Maegdefessel, L., Razuvaev, A., Schurgers, L. J., Hedin, U., & Matic, L. (2021). Proteoglycan 4 Modulates Osteogenic Smooth Muscle Cell Differentiation during Vascular Remodeling and Intimal Calcification. Cells, 10(6), [1276]. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061276
    • van Gorp, R. H., Dijkgraaf, I., Bröker, V., Bauwens, M., Leenders, P., Jennen, D., Dweck, M. R., Bucerius, J., Briedé, J. J., van Ryn, J., Brandenburg, V., Mottaghy, F., Spronk, H. M. H., Reutelingsperger, C. P., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Off-target effects of oral anticoagulants - vascular effects of vitamin K antagonist and non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant dabigatran etexilate. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 19(5), 1348-1363. https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.15289
    • van Ballegooijen, A. J., Beulens, J. W. J., Kieneker, L. M., de Borst, M. H., Gansevoort, R. T., Kema, I. P., Schurgers, L. J., Vervloet, M. G., & Bakker, S. J. L. (2021). Combined low vitamin D and K status amplifies mortality risk: a prospective study. European Journal of Nutrition, 60(3), 1645-1654. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02352-8
    • Fusaro, M., Cianciolo, G., Evenepoel, P., Schurgers, L., & Plebani, M. (2021). Vitamin K in CKD Bone Disorders. Calcified Tissue International, 108(4), 476-485. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00223-020-00792-2
    • Florea, A., Kooi, M. E., Mess, W., Schurgers, L. J., Bucerius, J., & Mottaghy, F. M. (2021). Effects of Combined Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 Supplementation on Na[18F]F PET/MRI in Patients with Carotid Artery Disease: The INTRICATE Rationale and Trial Design. Nutrients, 13(3), [994]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030994
    • Dai, L., Li, L., Erlandsson, H., Jaminon, A. M. G., Qureshi, A. R., Ripsweden, J., Brismar, T. B., Witasp, A., Heimbürger, O., Jørgensen, H. S., Barany, P., Lindholm, B., Evenepoel, P., Schurgers, L. J., & Stenvinkel, P. (2021). Functional vitamin K insufficiency, vascular calcification and mortality in advanced chronic kidney disease: A cohort study. PLOS ONE, 16(2), e0247623. [0247623]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247623
    • Florea, A., Sigl, J. P., Morgenroth, A., Vogg, A., Sahnoun, S., Winz, O. H., Bucerius, J., Schurgers, L. J., & Mottaghy, F. M. (2021). Sodium [18F]Fluoride PET Can Efficiently Monitor In Vivo Atherosclerotic Plaque Calcification Progression and Treatment. Cells, 10(2), [275]. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10020275
    • Furmanik, M., van Gorp, R., Whitehead, M., Ahmad, S., Bordoloi, J., Kapustin, A., Schurgers, L. J., & Shanahan, C. M. (2021). Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Mediates Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Calcification via Increased Release of Grp78 (Glucose-Regulated Protein, 78 kDa)-Loaded Extracellular Vesicles. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 41(2), 898-914. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.120.315506
    • Akbulut, A. C., Wasilewski, G. B., Rapp, N., Forin, F., Singer, H., Czogalla-Nitsche, K. J., & Schurgers, L. J. (2021). Menaquinone-7 Supplementation Improves Osteogenesis in Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 8, [618760]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.618760
    • Hao, Z. Y., Jin, D. Y., Chen, X. J., Schurgers, L. J., Stafford, D. W., & Tie, J. K. (2021). γ-Glutamyl carboxylase mutations differentially affect the biological function of vitamin K–dependent proteins. Blood, 137(4), 533-543. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006329
  • 2020
    • Rapp, N., Evenepoel, P., Stenvinkel, P., & Schurgers, L. (2020). Uremic Toxins and Vascular Calcification-Missing the Forest for All the Trees. Toxins, 12(10), [624]. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12100624
    • Furmanik, M., Chatrou, M., van Gorp, R., Akbulut, A., Willems, B., Schmidt, H., van Eys, G., Bochaton-Piallat, M-L., Proudfoot, D., Biessen, E., Hedin, U., Perisic, L., Mees, B., Shanahan, C., Reutelingsperger, C., & Schurgers, L. (2020). Reactive Oxygen-Forming Nox5 Links Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypic Switching and Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Vascular Calcification. Circulation Research, 127(7), 911-927. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.119.316159