We hypothesized that the aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) T cells was involved in the pathogenesis of RA. The expression profile of 270 human miRNAs in T cells from the first five RA patients and five controls were analysed by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Twelve miRNAs exhibited potentially aberrant expression in RA T cells compared to normal T cells. After validation with another 22 RA patients and 19 controls, miR-223 and miR-34b were over-expressed in RA T cells. The expression levels of miR-223 were correlated positively with the titre of rheumatoid factor (RF) in RA patients. Transfection of Jurkat cells with miR-223 mimic suppressed insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and transfection with miR-34b mimic suppressed cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) protein expression by Western blotting. The protein expression of IGF-1R but not CREB was decreased in RA T cells. The addition of recombinant IGF-1-stimulated interleukin (IL)-10 production by activated normal T cells, but not RA T cells. The transfection of miR-223 mimic impaired IGF-1-mediated IL-10 production in activated normal T cells. The expression levels of SCD5, targeted by miR-34b, were decreased in RA T cells after microarray analysis. In conclusion, both miR-223 and miR-34b were over-expressed in RA T cells, but only the miR-223 expression levels were correlated positively with RF titre in RA patients. Functionally, the increased miR-223 expression could impair the IGF-1-mediated IL-10 production in activated RA T cells in vivo, which might contribute to the imbalance between proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.