MicroRNA-135a (miR-135a) is implicated in the pathological processes of several cancers. However, the roles and regulatory mechanism of miR-135a in sepsis-induced myocardial depression (MD) remain largely unknown. In this study, the serum of patients with sepsis and healthy controls was obtained. The miR-135a expression was then measured. Then lentiviruses (miR-135a mimic, inhibitor and scramble control) were transfected into BALB/c mice. After 4 days of transfection, polymicrobial sepsis model was established by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) surgery. The serum tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-6 were detected. Cardiac function was assessed. In addition, the protein expressions of p38 MAPK/NF-κB pathway-related proteins were determined. Besides, SB203580 and JSH-23, the inhibitors of p38 MAPK and NF-κB respectively, were used to treat the isolated ventricular myocytes in vitro. MiR-135a was significantly up-regulated in the serum of patients with sepsis. In comparison with CLP group, the concentrations of TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 and the expressions of p-p38 and p-p65 in CLP + miR-135a mimic group were significantly increased, while markedly decreased in CLP + miR-135a inhibitor group. Moreover, EF, FS, LVdP/dt (max), LVdP/dt (min) and LVDP of CLP + miR-135a mimic group were all significantly decreased, while markedly increased in CLP + miR-135a inhibitor group. Besides, the increased expressions of p-p38 and p-p65, decreased expression of p-IKBα and the decreased percentage of contraction amplitude in miR-135a mimic group were markedly reversed by SB203580 or JSH-23 treatments. Up-regulation of miR-135a could aggravate sepsis-induced inflammation and myocardial dysfunction via activation of p38 MAPK/NF-κB pathway.