BackgroundmiR-431-5p is dysregulated in various cancers and plays an important function in the development of cancer. However, its role in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains to be understood.MethodsQuantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the relative expression of miR-431-5p in synovial tissues and FLSs. Cell proliferation assays helped examine RA FLS proliferation. Flow cytometry was performed to determine apoptosis and cell cycle progression in RA FLSs. We used dual-luciferase assays to determine the correlation between miR-431-5p and its putative target, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP). Quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting were used to measure XIAP levels in synovial tissues and transfected RA FLSs.ResultsmiR-431-5p was downregulated in synovial tissues and FLSs of patients with RA. Upregulation of miR-431-5p prohibited cell proliferation and the G0/G1-to-S phase transition but promoted apoptosis in RA FLSs, while miR-431-5p inhibition showed the opposite results. miR-431-5p directly targeted XIAP in RA FLSs and reversely correlated with XIAP levels in synovial tissues. Notably, XIAP silencing partially restored the effects of miR-431-5p inhibition in RA FLSs.ConclusionmiR-431-5p regulates cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle of RA FLSs by targeting XIAP, suggesting its potential in the treatment of RA.