The microRNAs (miRNAs) can post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and heart development. The Pax-8 gene knockout mice have apparent heart abnormalities. This study investigated the role of miRNAs in regulation of cardiac apoptosis and development in the knockout mice. MicroRNA microarrays demonstrated differential expression of microRNAs between Pax-8−/− and Pax-8+/− mice, confirmed by real-time PCR. The miR-122 was up-regulated by 1.92 folds in Pax-8−/− mice. There were ventricular septum defects in Pax-8−/− mice, and increased numbers of apoptotic cells in the left ventricular wall and interventricular septum in Pax-8−/− mice. In H9C2 myocytes, treatment with miR-122 mimics or miR-122 inhibitor affects the expression of CCK-8 and activity of Caspase-3. The miR-122 is up-regulated in the myocytes of Pax-8−/− mice and may participate in the apoptotic gene expression and pathogenesis of heart development defect.