Blanche Schroen


Prof. Blanche Schroen graduated in Biological Health Sciences at Maastricht University. Her PhD (2002-2006) at Maastricht University, CARIM, Department of Cardiology, aimed at finding molecular and genetical determinants of heart failure-susceptibility using 'omics' techniques. Subsequently, she performed post-doctoral work on cardiac genetical genomics at Imperial College London, in the lab of Prof. Timothy Aitman (clinical geneticist) and Prof. Stuart Cook (cardiologist), with the support of an NWO Rubicon grant. 

In 2008, she returned to the Department of Cardiology at Maastricht University, and started her current research on the role of non-coding RNAs as susceptibility factors for the development of Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF). Personal grants (NWO Veni, Vidi, NHS Dekker senior postdoc) and consortium grants (CVON She-predicts-HF, H2020) allowed to continue studies on cardiac molecular biology and genetics in the context of HFpEF and in close collaboration with Dr Marc van Bilsen (Dept of Physiology) and cardiologist Dr Vanessa van Empel. In particular, research focusses on the role of non-coding RNAs in pathophysiological processes underlying HFpEF, including inflammation, microvascular dysfunction, fibrosis and cardiomyocyte remodeling. Hence the title of her chair is ‘Experimental Cardiology, in particular diastolic dysfunction’.

The laboratory of Experimental Cardiology is part of the Department of Cardiology and of the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM). The lab finds its home base at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) of Maastricht university. Within this lab, the research team that is supervised by Prof. Blanche Schroen, Dr Marc van Bilsen and Dr Vanessa van Empel, aims at the unravelling of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying heart failure, with a particular focus on heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and diastolic dysfunction. 

The team has a broad scientific interest in cellular and molecular mechanisms in the diseased heart, including the role of immune cells, fibroblasts and the microvasculature in the progression towards HFpEF. In addition, the team has expertise in metabolic determinants of cardiomyocyte function. These cellular aspects of heart failure development are investigated predominantly by focussing on the role of non-coding RNAs within the different cell types. As a basis for the research conducted within the group, the impact of systemic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity on the heart is considered central to the progression towards heart failure and HFpEF.

Department of Cardiology
Universiteitssingel 50, 6229 ER Maastricht
PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht

  • 2023
    • van Nieuwenhoven, F. A., Schroen, B., Barile, L., van Middendorp, L., Prinzen, F. W., & Auricchio, A. (2023). Plasma Extracellular Vesicles as Liquid Biopsy to Unravel the Molecular Mechanisms of Cardiac Reverse Remodeling Following Resynchronization Therapy?Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(2), Article 665.
  • 2022
    • Weerts, J., Mourmans, S. G. J., Barandiaran Aizpurua, A., Schroen, B. L. M., Knackstedt, C., Eringa, E., Houben, A. J. H. M., & van Empel, V. P. M. (2022). The Role of Systemic Microvascular Dysfunction in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction. Biomolecules, 12(2), Article 278.
  • 2021
    • De Majo, F., Martens, L., Hegenbarth, J. C., Ruhle, F., Hamczyk, M. R., Nevado, R. M., Andres, V., Hilbold, E., Bar, C., Thum, T., de Boer, M., Duncker, D. J., Schroen, B., Armand, A. S., Stoll, M., & De Windt, L. J. (2021). Genomic instability in the naturally and prematurely aged myocardium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(36), Article e2022974118.
  • 2020
    • Robinson, E. L., Gomes, C. P. C., Potocnjak, I., Hellemans, J., Betsou, F., de Gonzalo-Calvo, D., Stoll, M., Yilmaz, M. B., Agg, B., Beis, D., Carmo-Fonseca, M., Enguita, F. J., Dogan, S., Tuna, B. G., Schroen, B., Ammerlaan, W., Kuster, G. M., Carpusca, I., Pedrazzini, T., ... EU-CardioRNA COST Action (2020). A Year in the Life of the EU-CardioRNA COST Action: CA17129 Catalysing Transcriptomics Research in Cardiovascular Disease. Non-coding RNA, 6(2), Article 17.
    • Suthahar, N., Meems, L. M. G., van Veldhuisen, D. J., Walter, J. E., Gansevoort, R. T., Heymans, S., Schroen, B., van der Harst, P., Kootstra-Ros, J. E., van Empel, V., Mueller, C., Bakker, S. J. L., & de Boer, R. A. (2020). High-Sensitivity Troponin-T and Cardiovascular Outcomes in the Community: Differences Between Women and Men. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 95(6), 1158-1168.
    • De Majo, F., Hegenbarth, J.-C., Ruehle, F., Baer, C., Thum, T., de Boer, M., Duncker, D. J., Schroen, B., Armand, A.-S., Stoll, M., & De Windt, L. J. (2020). Dichotomy between the transcriptomic landscape of naturally versus accelerated aged murine hearts. Scientific Reports, 10(1), Article 8136.
    • Liapi, E., van Bilsen, M., Verjans, R., & Schroen, B. (2020). tRNAs and tRNA fragments as modulators of cardiac and skeletal muscle function. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Molecular Cell Research, 1867(3), Article 118465.
    • Verjans, R., van Bilsen, M., & Schroen, B. (2020). Reviewing the Limitations of Adult Mammalian Cardiac Regeneration: Noncoding RNAs as Regulators of Cardiomyogenesis. Biomolecules, 10(2), Article 262.
    • Gomes, C. P. C., Schroen, B., Kuster, G. M., Robinson, E. L., Ford, K., Squire, I. B., Heymans, S., Martelli, F., Emanueli, C., Devaux, Y., & EU-CardioRNA COST Action (CA17129) (2020). Regulatory RNAs in Heart Failure. Circulation, 141(4), 313-328.
  • 2019
    • Kenneweg, F., Bang, C., Xiao, K., Boulanger, C. M., Loyer, X., Mazlan, S., Schroen, B., Hermans-Beijnsberger, S., Foinquinos, A., Hirt, M. N., Eschenhagen, T., Funcke, S., Stojanovic, S., Genschel, C., Schimmel, K., Just, A., Pfanne, A., Scherf, K., Dehmel, S., ... Thum, T. (2019). Long Noncoding RNA-Enriched Vesicles Secreted by Hypoxic Cardiomyocytes Drive Cardiac Fibrosis. Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, 18, 363-374.
    • Verjans, R., Derks, W. J. A., Korn, K., Soennichsen, B., van Leeuwen, R. E. W., Schroen, B., van Bilsen, M., & Heymans, S. (2019). Functional Screening Identifies MicroRNAs as Multi-Cellular Regulators of Heart Failure. Scientific Reports, 9, Article 6055.
    • Rech, M., Kuhn, A. R., Lumens, J., Carai, P., van Leeuwen, R., Verhesen, W., Verjans, R., Lecomte, J., Liu, Y., Luiken, J. J. F. P., Mohren, R., Cillero-Pastor, B., Heymans, S., Knoops, K., van Bilsen, M., & Schroen, B. (2019). AntagomiR-103 and-107 Treatment Affects Cardiac Function and Metabolism. Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids, 14, 424-437.
  • 2018
    • Aizpurua, A. B., Schroen, B., van Bilsen, M., & van Empel, V. (2018). Targeted HFpEF therapy based on matchmaking of human and animal models. American Journal of Physiology-heart and Circulatory Physiology, 315(6), H1670-H1683.
    • Vasques-Novoa, F., Laundos, T. L., Cerqueira, R. J., Quina-Rodrigues, C., Soares-dos-Reis, R., Baganha, F., Ribeiro, S., Mendonca, L., Goncalves, F., Reguenga, C., Verhesen, W., Carneiro, F., Paiva, J. A., Schroen, B., Castro-Chaves, P., Pinto-do-O, P., Nascimento, D. S., Heymans, S., Leite-Moreira, A. F., & Roncon-Albuquerque, R. (2018). MicroRNA-155 Amplifies Nitric Oxide/cGMP Signaling and Impairs Vascular Angiotensin II Reactivity in Septic Shock. Critical Care Medicine, 46(9), E945-E954.
    • Hermans-Beijnsberger, S., van Bilsen, M., & Schroen, B. (2018). Long non-coding RNAs in the failing heart and vasculature. Non-coding RNA research, 3(3), 118-130.
    • Suthahar, N., Meijers, W. C., Ho, J. E., Gansevoort, R. T., Voors, A. A., van der Meer, P., Bakker, S. J. L., Heymans, S., van Empel, V., Schroen, B., van der Harst, P., van Veldhuisen, D. J., & de Boer, R. A. (2018). Sex-specific associations of obesity and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide levels in the general population. European journal of heart failure, 20(8), 1205-1214.
    • Rech, M., Aizpurua, A. B., van Empel, V., van Bilsen, M., & Schroen, B. (2018). Pathophysiological understanding of HFpEF: microRNAs as part of the puzzle. Cardiovascular Research, 114(6), 782-793.
    • Verjans, R., Peters, T., Beaumont, F., van Leeuwen, R., van Herwaarden, T., Verhesen, W., Munts, C., Bijnen, M., Henkens, M., Diez, J., de Windt, L. J., van Nieuwenhoven, F. A., van Bilsen, M., Goumans, M. J., Heymans, S., Gonzalez, A., & Schroen, B. (2018). MicroRNA-221/222 Family Counteracts Myocardial Fibrosis in Pressure Overload-Induced Heart Failure. Hypertension, 71(2), 280-288.
    • Rech, M., Luiken, J. J. F. P., Glatz, J. F. C., van Bilsen, M., Schroen, B., & Nabben, M. (2018). Assessing fatty acid oxidation flux in rodent cardiomyocyte models. Scientific Reports, 8, Article 1505.
  • 2017
    • van Nieuwenhoven, F. A., Munts, C., op't Veld, R. C., Gonzalez, A., Diez, J., Heymans, S., Schroen, B., & van Bilsen, M. (2017). Cartilage intermediate layer protein 1 (CILP1): A novel mediator of cardiac extracellular matrix remodelling. Scientific Reports, 7, Article 16042.
    • Heggermont, W. A., Papageorgiou, A.-P., Quaegebeur, A., Deckx, S., Carai, P., Verhesen, W., Eelen, G., Schoors, S., van Leeuwen, R., Alekseev, S., Elzenaar, I., Vinckier, S., Pokreisz, P., Walravens, A.-S., Gijsbers, R., Van Den Haute, C., Nickel, A., Schroen, B., van Bilsen, M., ... Heymans, S. (2017). Inhibition of MicroRNA-146a and Overexpression of Its Target Dihydrolipoyl Succinyltransferase Protect Against Pressure Overload-Induced Cardiac Hypertrophy and Dysfunction. Circulation, 136(8), 747-761.
    • Steinbusch, M. M. F., Caron, M. M. J., Surtel, D. A. M., Friedrich, F., Lausch, E., Pruijn, G. J. M., Verhesen, W., Schroen, B. L. M., van Rhijn, L. W., Zabel, B., & Welting, T. J. M. (2017). Expression of RMRP RNA is regulated in chondrocyte hypertrophy and determines chondrogenic differentiation. Scientific Reports, 7, Article 6440.
    • Micheletti, R., Plaisance, I., Abraham, B. J., Sarre, A., Ting, C.-C., Alexanian, M., Maric, D., Maison, D., Nemir, M., Young, R. A., Schroen, B., Gonzalez, A., Ounzain, S., & Pedrazzini, T. (2017). The long noncoding RNA Wisper controls cardiac fibrosis and remodeling. Science Translational Medicine, 9(395), Article eaai9118.
    • McDermott-Roe, C., Leleu, M., Rowe, G. C., Palygin, O., Bukowy, J. D., Kuo, J., Rech, M., Hermans-Beijnsberger, S., Schaefer, S., Adami, E., Creemers, E. E., Heinig, M., Schroen, B., Arany, Z., Petretto, E., & Geurts, A. M. (2017). Transcriptome-wide co-expression analysis identifies LRRC2 as a novel mediator of mitochondrial and cardiac function. PLOS ONE, 12(2), Article 0170458.
  • 2016
    • Gast, M., Schroen, B., Voigt, A., Haas, J., Kuehl, U., Lassner, D., Skurk, C., Escher, F., Wang, X., Kratzer, A., Michalik, K., Papageorgiou, A., Peters, T., Loebel, M., Wilk, S., Althof, N., Prasanth, K. V., Katus, H., Meder, B., ... Poller, W. (2016). Long noncoding RNA MALAT1-derived mascRNA is involved in cardiovascular innate immunity. Journal of Molecular Cell Biology, 8(2), 178-181.
    • Peters, T., Beijnsberger, S., Beqqali, A., Bitsch, N., Nakagawa, S., Prasanth, K. V., de Windt, L. J., van Oort, R. J., Heymans, S., & Schroen, B. (2016). Long Non-Coding RNA Malat-1 Is Dispensable during Pressure Overload-Induced Cardiac Remodeling and Failure in Mice. PLOS ONE, 11(2), Article e0150236.
    • Van Aelst, L. N. L., Summer, G., Li, S., Gupta, S. K., Heggermont, W., De Vusser, K., Carai, P., Naesens, M., Van Cleemput, J., Van de Werf, F., Vanhaecke, J., Thum, T., Waer, M., Papageorgiou, A. .-P., Schroen, B., & Heymans, S. (2016). RNA Profiling in Human and Murine Transplanted Hearts: Identification and Validation of Therapeutic Targets for Acute Cardiac and Renal Allograft Rejection. American Journal of Transplantation, 16(1), 99-110.
  • 2015
    • Ounzain, S., Micheletti, R., Arnan, C., Plaisance, I., Cecchi, D., Schroen, B., Reverter, F., Alexanian, M., Gonzales, C., Ng, S. Y., Bussotti, G., Pezzuto, I., Notredame, C., Heymans, S., Guigo, R., Johnson, R., & Pedrazzini, T. (2015). CARMEN, a human super enhancer-associated long noncoding RNA controlling cardiac specification, differentiation and homeostasis. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 89, 98-112.
    • Corsten, M., Heggermont, W., Papageorgiou, A.-P., Deckx, S., Tijsma, A., Verhesen, W., van Leeuwen, R., Carai, P., Thibaut, H.-J., Custers, K., Summer, G., Hazebroek, M., Verheyen, F., Neyts, J., Schroen, B., & Heymans, S. (2015). The microRNA-221/-222 cluster balances the antiviral and inflammatory response in viral myocarditis. European Heart Journal, 36(42), 2909-U56.
    • Devaux, Y., Zangrando, J., Schroen, B., Creemers, E. E., Pedrazzini, T., Chang, C.-P., Dorn, G. W. . II., Thum, T., & Heymans, S. (2015). Long noncoding RNAs in cardiac development and ageing. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 12(7), 415-425.
    • Ounzain, S., Micheletti, R., Beckmann, T., Schroen, B., Alexanian, M., Pezzuto, I., Crippa, S., Nemir, M., Sarre, A., Johnson, R., Dauvillier, J., Burdet, F., Ibberson, M., Guigo, R., Xenarios, I., Heymans, S., & Pedrazzini, T. (2015). Genome-wide profiling of the cardiac transcriptome after myocardial infarction identifies novel heart-specific long non-coding RNAs. European Heart Journal, 36(6), 353–368.
  • 2014
    • Tijsen, A. J., van der Made, I., van den Hoogenhof, M. M., Wijnen, W. J., van Deel, E. D., de Groot, N. E., Alekseev, S., Fluiter, K., Schroen, B., Goumans, M.-J., van der Velden, J., Duncker, D. J., Pinto, Y. M., & Creemers, E. E. (2014). The microRNA-15 family inhibits the TGF beta-pathway in the heart. Cardiovascular Research, 104(1), 61-71.
    • Peters, T., & Schroen, B. (2014). Missing links in cardiology: long non-coding RNAs enter the arena. Pflugers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology, 466(6), 1177-1187.
    • Beaumont, J., Lopez, B., Hermida, N., Schroen, B., Jose, G. S., Heymans, S., Valencia, F., Jose Gomez-Doblas, J., De Teresa, E., Diez, J., & Gonzalez, A. (2014). microRNA-122 down-regulation may play a role in severe myocardial fibrosis in human aortic stenosis through TGF-beta(1) up-regulation. Clinical Science, 126(7-8), 497-506.
  • 2013
    • Heymans, S., Corsten, M. F., Verhesen, W., Carai, P., van Leeuwen, R. E., Custers, K., Peters, T., Hazebroek, M., Stoger, L., Wijnands, E., Janssen, B. J., Creemers, E. E., Pinto, Y. M., Grimm, D., Schurmann, N., Vigorito, E., Thum, T., Stassen, F. R., Yin, X., ... Schroen, B. L. (2013). Macrophage MicroRNA-155 Promotes Cardiac Hypertrophy and Failure. Circulation, 128(13), 1420-1432.
  • 2012
    • Corsten, M. F., Schroen, B., & Heymans, S. (2012). Inflammation in viral myocarditis: friend or foe?Trends in Molecular Medicine, 18(7), 426-437.
    • Donners, M. M. P. C., Wolfs, I. M. J., Stoger, L. J., van der Vorst, E. P. C., Pottgens, C. C. H., Heymans, S., Schroen, B., Gijbels, M. J. J., & de Winther, M. P. J. (2012). Hematopoietic miR155 Deficiency Enhances Atherosclerosis and Decreases Plaque Stability in Hyperlipidemic Mice. PLOS ONE, 7(4), Article e35877.
    • Schroen, B., & Heymans, S. (2012). Small but smart-microRNAs in the centre of inflammatory processes during cardiovascular diseases, the metabolic syndrome, and ageing. Cardiovascular Research, 93(4), 605-613.
    • Devaux, Y., Vausort, M., Goretti, E., Nazarov, P. V., Azuaje, F., Gilson, G., Corsten, M. F., Schroen, B., Lair, M.-L., Heymans, S., & Wagner, D. R. (2012). Use of Circulating MicroRNAs to Diagnose Acute Myocardial Infarction. Clinical Chemistry, 58(3), 559-567.
  • 2011
    • van Almen, G. C., Verhesen, W., van Leeuwen, R. E. W., van de Vrie, M., Eurlings, C., Schellings, M. W. M., Swinnen, M., Cleutjens, J. P. M., van Zandvoort, M. A. M. J., Heymans, S., & Schroen, B. (2011). MicroRNA-18 and microRNA-19 regulate CTGF and TSP-1 expression in age-related heart failure. Aging Cell, 10(5), 769-779.
    • van Almen, G. C., Swinnen, M., Carai, P., Verhesen, W., Cleutjens, J. P. M., D'hooge, J., Verheyen, F. K., Pinto, Y. M., Schroen, B., Carmeliet, P., & Heymans, S. (2011). Absence of thrombospondin-2 increases cardiomyocyte damage and matrix disruption in doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 51(3), 318-328.
    • van de Vrie, M., Heymans, S., & Schroen, B. (2011). MicroRNA Involvement in Immune Activation During Heart Failure. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 25(2), 161-170.
  • 2006
    • van Haaften, R. I. M., Schroen, B. L., Janssen, B. J., van Erk, A. A., Debets, J. J., Smeets, H. J., Smits, J. F., van den Wijngaard, A., Pinto, Y. M., & Evelo, C. T. (2006). Biologically relevant effects of mRNA amplification on gene expression profiles. BMC Bioinformatics, 7, 200.