Vascular smooth muscle cell phenotype switching governs vascular calcification: Role of harnessing endogenous protective mechanisms

Brecht Andy Ghislaine Willems

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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This dissertation examines the role of smooth muscle cells (VSMC) in the development of vascular calcification and atherosclerosis. Smoking causes a significant increase in microcalcification, which is the most dangerous form of vascular calcification. A nicotinic receptor causes increased oxidative stress and exome secretion in the smooth muscle cells. The vitamin K-dependent protein Ucma/GRP appears to protect against vascular calcification by inhibiting oestrogen differentiation in smooth muscle cells. Smooth muscle cells play a protective role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. This finding may have far-reaching consequences for modern techniques used to treat blocked arteries.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Reutelingsperger, C.P.M., Supervisor
  • Schurgers, Leon, Co-Supervisor
  • Vermeer, Cornelis, Co-Supervisor
Award date1 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789462957671
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • smooth muscle cells (VSMC)
  • vascular calcification
  • atherosclerosis
  • Ucma/GRP
  • vitamin K

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