Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. Although epilepsy can be idiopathic, it is estimated that up to 50% of all epilepsy cases are initiated by neurological insults and are called acquired epilepsy (AE). AE develops in 3 phases: (1) the injury (central nervous system [CNS] insult), (2) epileptogenesis (latency), and (3) the chronic epileptic (spontaneous recurrent seizure) phases. Status epilepticus (SE), stroke, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are 3 major examples of common brain injuries that can lead to the development of AE. It is especially important to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause AE because it may lead to innovative strategies to prevent or cure this common condition. Recent studies have offered new insights into the cause of AE and indicate that injury-induced alterations in intracellular calcium concentration levels [Ca(2+)](i) and calcium homeostatic mechanisms play a role in the development and maintenance of AE. The injuries that cause AE are different, but they share a common molecular mechanism for producing brain damage-an increase in extracellular glutamate concentration that causes increased intracellular neuronal calcium, leading to neuronal injury and/or death. Neurons that survive the injury induced by glutamate and are exposed to increased [Ca(2+)](i) are the cellular substrates to develop epilepsy because dead cells do not seize. The neurons that survive injury sustain permanent long-term plasticity changes in [Ca(2+)](i) and calcium homeostatic mechanisms that are permanent and are a prominent feature of the epileptic phenotype. In the last several years, evidence has accumulated indicating that the prolonged alteration in neuronal calcium dynamics plays an important role in the induction and maintenance of the prolonged neuroplasticity changes underlying the epileptic phenotype. Understanding the role of calcium as a second messenger in the induction and maintenance of epilepsy may provide novel insights into therapeutic advances that will prevent and even cure AE.