Thalidomide-induced limb defects: resolving a 50-year-old puzzle

Neil Vargesson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the recent discovery that thalidomide causes limb defects by targeting highly angiogenic, immature blood vessels, several challenges still remain and new ones have arisen. These include understanding the drug's species specificity, determining molecular target(s) in the endothelial cell, shedding light on the molecular basis of phocomelia and producing a form of the drug that is clinically effective without having side effects. Now that the trigger of thalidomide-induced teratogenesis has been uncovered, a framework is proposed, incorporating and uniting previous models of thalidomide action, explaining how thalidomide causes not just limb defects, but also all the other defects it induces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1327-1336
Number of pages10
Issue number12
Early online date17 Nov 2009
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • thalidomide
  • chick limb development
  • CPS49
  • phocomelia
  • thalidomide analogue
  • therapeutics


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