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

  • 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
    • 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
    • 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 F-18-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
    • Michaux, A., Matagrin, B., Debaux, J-V., Schurgers, L. J., Benoit, E., & Lattard, V. (2018). Missense mutation of VKORC1 leads to medial arterial calcification in rats. Scientific Reports, 8, [13733]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31788-6
    • Reutelingsperger, C., & Schurgers, L. (2018). Coronary Artery Calcification A Janus-Faced Biomarker?JACC-Cardiovascular Imaging, 11(9), 1324-1326. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2017.04.009
    • Jansz, T. T., Neradova, A., van Ballegooijen, A. J., Verhaar, M. C., Vervloet, M. G., Schurgers, L. J., & van Jaarsveld, B. C. (2018). The role of kidney transplantation and phosphate binder use in vitamin K status. PLOS ONE, 13(8), [e0203157]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203157
    • Miyata, K. N., Nast, C. C., Dai, T., Dukkipati, R., LaPage, J. A., Troost, J. P., Schurgers, L. J., Kretzler, M., & Adler, S. G. (2018). Renal matrix Gla protein expression increases progressively with CKD and predicts renal outcome. Experimental and Molecular Pathology, 105(1), 120-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yexmp.2018.07.001
    • Peeters, F. E. C. M., Meex, S. J. R., Dweck, M. R., Aikawa, E., Crijns, H. J. G. M., Schurgers, L. J., & Kietselaer, B. L. J. H. (2018). Calcific aortic valve stenosis: hard disease in the heart. European Heart Journal, 39(28), 2618–2624. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx653
    • Eersels, K., Diliën, H., Lowdon, J., Steen Redeker, E., Rogosic, R., Heidt, B., Peeters, M., Cornelis, P., Lux, P., Reutelingsperger, C., Schurgers, L., Cleij, T., & van Grinsven, B. (2018). A Novel Biomimetic Tool for Assessing Vitamin K Status Based on Molecularly Imprinted Polymers. Nutrients, 10(6), 751. [751]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060751
    • Popko, J., Karpinski, M., Chojnowska, S., Maresz, K., Milewski, R., Badmaev, V., & Schurgers, L. J. (2018). Decreased Levels of Circulating Carboxylated Osteocalcin in Children with Low Energy Fractures: A Pilot Study. Nutrients, 10(6), [734]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060734
    • Schurgers, L. J., Akbulut, A. C., Kaczor, D. M., Halder, M., Koenen, R. R., & Kramann, R. (2018). Initiation and Propagation of Vascular Calcification Is Regulated by a Concert of Platelet- and Smooth Muscle Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 5, [36]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2018.00036
    • Peeters, F. E. C. M., van Mourik, M. J. W., Meex, S. J. R., Bucerius, J., Schalla, S. M., Gerretsen, S. C., Mihl, C., Dweck, M. R., Schurgers, L. J., Wildberger, J. E., Crijns, H. J. G. M., & Kietselaer, B. L. J. H. (2018). Bicuspid Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Effect of Vitamin K2 on Calcification Using F-18-Sodium Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance: The BASIK2 Rationale and Trial Design. Nutrients, 10(4), [386]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10040386
    • Willems, B. A., Furmanik, M., Caron, M. M. J., Chatrou, M. L. L., Kusters, D. H. M., Welting, T. J. M., Stock, M., Rafael, M. S., Viegas, C. S. B., Simes, D. C., Vermeer, C., Reutelingsperger, C. P. M., & Schurgers, L. J. (2018). Ucma/GRP inhibits phosphate-induced vascular smooth muscle cell calcification via SMAD-dependent BMP signalling. Scientific Reports, 8, [4961]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23353-y
    • Viegas, C. S. B., Santos, L., Macedo, A. L., Matos, A. A., Silva, A. P., Neves, P. L., Staes, A., Gevaert, K., Morais, R., Vermeer, C., Schurgers, L., & Simes, D. C. (2018). Chronic Kidney Disease Circulating Calciprotein Particles and Extracellular Vesicles Promote Vascular Calcification: A Role for GRP (Gla-Rich Protein). Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 38(3), 575-587. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.117.310578
    • Dahlberg, S., Ede, J., Schurgers, L., Vermeer, C., Kander, T., Klarin, B., & Schott, U. (2018). Desphospho-Uncarboxylated Matrix-Gla Protein Is Increased Postoperatively in Cardiovascular Risk Patients. Nutrients, 10(1), [46]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10010046
  • 2017
    • Stoehr, R., Schurgers, L., van Gorp, R., Jaminon, A., Marx, N., & Reutelingsperger, C. (2017). Annexin A5 reduces early plaque formation in ApoE -/- mice. PLOS ONE, 12(12), [0190229]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190229
    • Burgmaier, M., Reith, S., Schurgers, L., Kahles, F., Marx, N., & Reutelingsperger, C. (2017). Circulating annexin A5 levels are associated with carotid intima-media thickness but not coronary plaque composition. Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research, 14(5), 415-422. https://doi.org/10.1177/1479164117710392
    • Doring, Y., Noels, H., van der Vorst, E. P. C., Neideck, C., Egea, V., Drechsler, M., Mandl, M., Pawig, L., Jansen, Y., Schroeder, K., Bidzhekov, K., Megens, R. T. A., Theelen, W., Klinkhammer, B. M., Boor, P., Schurgers, L., van Gorp, R., Ries, C., Kusters, P. J. H., ... Weber, C. (2017). Vascular CXCR4 Limits Atherosclerosis by Maintaining Arterial Integrity Evidence From Mouse and Human Studies. Circulation, 136(4), 388-403. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.027646
    • Brandenburg, V. M., Reinartz, S., Kaesler, N., Krueger, T., Dirrichs, T., Kramann, R., Peeters, F., Floege, J., Keszei, A., Marx, N., Schurgers, L. J., & Koos, R. (2017). Slower Progress of Aortic Valve Calcification With Vitamin K Supplementation Results From a Prospective Interventional Proof-of-Concept Study. Circulation, 135(21), 2081-2083. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.027011
    • Vajen, T., Benedikter, B. J., Heinzmann, A. C. A., Vasina, E. M., Henskens, Y., Parsons, M., Maguire, P. B., Stassen, F. R., Heemskerk, J. W. M., Schurgers, L. J., & Koenen, R. R. (2017). Platelet extracellular vesicles induce a pro-inflammatory smooth muscle cell phenotype. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles , 6(1), [1322454]. https://doi.org/10.1080/20013078.2017.1322454
    • Neradova, A., Schumacher, S. P., Hubeek, I., Lux, P., Schurgers, L. J., & Vervloet, M. G. (2017). Phosphate binders affect vitamin K concentration by undesired binding, an in vitro study. Bmc Nephrology, 18, [149]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12882-017-0560-3
    • Kapustin, A. N., Schoppet, M., Schurgers, L. J., Reynolds, J. L., McNair, R., Heiss, A., Jahnen-Dechent, W., Hackeng, T. M., Schlieper, G., Harrison, P., & Shanahan, C. M. (2017). Prothrombin Loading of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell-Derived Exosomes Regulates Coagulation and Calcification. Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 37(3), E22-E32. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308886