For about 30% of patients with epilepsy the cause is unknown. Even in patients with a known risk factor for epilepsy, such as ischaemic stroke, only a subpopulation of patients develops epilepsy. Factors that contribute to the risk for epileptogenesis in a given individual generally remain unknown. Studies in the past decade on epilepsy in patients with ischaemic stroke suggest that, in addition to the primary ischaemic injury, existing difficult-to-detect microscale changes in blood vessels and white matter present as epileptogenic pathologies. Injury severity, location and type of pathological changes, genetic factors, and pre-injury and post-injury exposure to non-genetic factors (ie, the exposome) can divide patients with ischaemic stroke into different endophenotypes with a variable risk for epileptogenesis. These data provide guidance for animal modelling of post-stroke epilepsy, and for laboratory experiments to explore with increased specificity the molecular 'mechanisms, biomarkers, and treatment targets of post-stroke epilepsy in different circumstances, with the aim of modifying epileptogenesis after ischaemic stroke in individual patients without compromising recovery.
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