The precise functions and mechanisms of microRNAs (miR) in gallbladder cancer (GBC) remain elusive. In this study, we found that miR-135a-5p expression is often dampened and correlated with neoplasm histologic grade in GBC. MicroRNA-135a-5p introduction clearly inhibited GBC cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR), which is often upregulated in GBC tissues, was identified as a direct functional target of miR-135a-5p. Furthermore, the p38 MAPK pathway was proven to be involved in miR-135a-VLDLR downstream signaling. Together, these results suggested that the miR-135a–VLDLR–p38 axis may contribute to GBC cell proliferation.