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: 4.314
T: +31(0)43 388 16 80

  • 2021
    • 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
    • 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 Biobank and Cohort Studies (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
    • 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
    • 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 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. (2021). Deficiency of myeloid PHD proteins aggravates atherogenesis via macrophage apoptosis and paracrine fibrotic signalling. Cardiovascular Research. https://doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab152
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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. (2020). Functional vitamin K status and risk of incident chronic kidney disease and microalbuminuria: a prospective general population-based cohort study. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfaa304
    • 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
    • Haroon, S. W. P., Tai, C., Ling, L. H., Teo, L., Davenport, A., Schurgers, L., Teo, B. W., Khatri, P., Ong, C. C., Low, S., Yeo, X. E., Tan, J. N., Subramanian, S., Chua, H. R., Tan, S. Y., Wong, W. K., & Lau, T. W. L. (2020). Treatment to reduce vascular calcification in hemodialysis patients using vitamin K (Trevasc-HDK) A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Medicine, 99(36), [21906]. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000021906
    • 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. (2020). Reduced Vitamin K Status as a Potentially Modifiable Risk Factor of Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019. Clinical Infectious Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1258
    • 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
    • Dai, L., Meijers, B. K., Bammens, B., de Loor, H., Schurgers, L. J., Qureshi, A. R., Stenvinkel, P., & Evenepoel, P. (2020). Sevelamer Use in End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) Patients Associates with Poor Vitamin K Status and High Levels of Gut-Derived Uremic Toxins: A Drug-Bug Interaction?Toxins, 12(6), [351]. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12060351
    • 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
    • d'Alessandro, E., Becker, C., Bergmeier, W., Bode, C., Bourne, J. H., Brown, H., Buller, H. R., ten Cate-Hoek, A. J., ten Cate, V., van Cauteren, Y. J. M., Cheung, Y. F. H., Cleuren, A., Coenen, D., Crijns, H. J. G. M., de Simone, I., Dolleman, S. C., Klein, C. E., Fernandez, D. I., Granneman, L., ... Scientific Reviewer Committee (2020). Thrombo-Inflammation in Cardiovascular Disease: An Expert Consensus Document from the Third Maastricht Consensus Conference on Thrombosis. Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 120(4), 538-564. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1708035
    • Dai, L., Schurgers, L. J., Shiels, P. G., & Stenvinkel, P. (2020). Early vascular ageing in chronic kidney disease: impact of inflammation, vitamin K, senescence and genomic damage. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 35, 31-37. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfaa006
    • Dai, L., Plunde, O., Qureshi, A. R., Lindholm, B., Brismar, T. B., Schurgers, L. J., Soederberg, M., Ripsweden, J., Back, M., & Stenvinkel, P. (2020). Aortic Valve Calcium Associates with All-Cause Mortality Independent of Coronary Artery Calcium and Inflammation in Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(2), [607]. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020607
    • 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
    • Van Kuijk, K., Theelen, T., Demandt, J., Marsch, E., Gijbels, M., Jin, H., Reutelingsperger, C., Cosemans, J., Schurgers, L., Carmeliet, P., Biessen, E., Daemen, M., & Sluimer, J. (2019). MYELOID PHD2 KNOCKDOWN DRIVES MACROPHAGE APOPTOSIS AND PARACRINE FIBROBLAST/SMOOTH MUSCLE CELL COLLAGEN SECRETION LEADING TO ATHEROSCLEROTIC PLAQUE FIBROSIS. Atherosclerosis, 287, E10-E10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2019.06.027
    • Petsophonsakul, P., Furmanik, M., Forsythe, R., Dweck, M., Schurink, G. W., Natour, E., Reutelingsperger, C., Jacobs, M., Mees, B., & Schurgers, L. (2019). Role of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypic Switching and Calcification in Aortic Aneurysm Formation Involvement of Vitamin K-Dependent Processes. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 39(7), 1351-1368. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.312787
    • Posthuma, J. J., Posma, J. J. N., van Oerle, R., Leenders, P., van Gorp, R. H., Jaminon, A. M. G., Mackman, N., Heitmeier, S., Schurgers, L. J., ten Cate, H., & Spronk, H. M. H. (2019). Targeting Coagulation Factor Xa Promotes Regression of Advanced Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein-E Deficient Mice. Scientific Reports, 9, [3909]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40602-w
    • Wasilewski, G. B., Vervloet, M. G., & Schurgers, L. J. (2019). The Bone-Vasculature Axis: Calcium Supplementation and the Role of Vitamin K. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 6, 1-16. [6]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2019.00006
    • Halder, M., Petsophonsakul, P., Akbulut, A. C., Pavlic, A., Bohan, F., Anderson, E., Maresz, K., Kramann, R., & Schurgers, L. (2019). Vitamin K: Double Bonds beyond Coagulation Insights into Differences between Vitamin K1 and K2 in Health and Disease. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(4), [896]. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040896
    • Gussenhoven, R., Klein, L., Ophelders, D. R. M. G., Habets, D. H. J., Giebel, B., Kramer, B. W., Schurgers, L. J., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., & Wolfs, T. G. A. M. (2019). Annexin A1 as Neuroprotective Determinant for Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity in Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(2), [137]. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8020137
    • van Ballegooijen, A. J., Beulens, J. J., Schurgers, L. J., de Koning, E. J., Lips, P., van Schoor, N. M., & Vervloet, M. G. (2019). Effect of 6-Month Vitamin D Supplementation on Plasma Matrix Gla Protein in Older Adults. Nutrients, 11(2), [231]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020231
    • Schumacher, S. P., Schurgers, L. J., Vervloet, M. G., & Neradova, A. (2019). Influence of pH and phosphate concentration on the phosphate binding capacity of five contemporary binders. An in vitro study. Nephrology, 24(2), 221-226. https://doi.org/10.1111/nep.13245
    • Dahlberg, S., Schurgers, L., Schott, U., & Kander, T. (2019). Vitamin K deficiency in critical ill patients; a prospective observational study. Journal of Critical Care, 49, 105-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrc.2018.10.022
    • Bucerius, J., Dijkgraaf, I., Mottaghy, F. M., & Schurgers, L. J. (2019). Target identification for the diagnosis and intervention of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques beyond 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography imaging: promising tracers on the horizon. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 46(1), 251-265. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00259-018-4176-z
    • Rao, P. S., Ramanjaneyulu, Y. S., Prisk, V. R., & Schurgers, L. J. (2019). A Combination of Tamarindus indica seeds and Curcuma longa Rhizome Extracts Improves Knee Joint Function and Alleviates Pain in Non-Arthritic Adults Following Physical Activity. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 16(6), 845-853. https://doi.org/10.7150/ijms.32505
    • Dudink, E., Florijn, B., Weijs, B., Duijs, J., Luermans, J., Peeters, F., Schurgers, L., Wildberger, J., Schotten, U., Bijkerk, R., Crijns, H. J., & van Zonneveld, A. J. (2019). Vascular Calcification and not Arrhythmia in Idiopathic Atrial Fibrillation Associates with Sex Differences in Diabetic Microvascular Injury miRNA Profiles. MicroRNA (Shāriqah, United Arab Emirates), 8(2), 127-134. https://doi.org/10.2174/2211536608666181122125208
  • 2018
    • Stoehr, R., Deckers, N., Schurgers, L., Marx, N., & Reutelingsperger, C. P. (2018). AnnexinA5-pHrodo: a new molecular probe for measuring efferocytosis. Scientific Reports, 8, [17731]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35995-z