Abnormal proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) contributes to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown the great impact of microRNAs (miRNAs) on the cell proliferation of VSMCs. This study examined the effects of miR-137 on the cell proliferation and migration of VSMCs and also explored the underlying molecular mechanisms. The mRNA and protein expression levels were determined by qRT-PCR and western blot assays, respectively. The CCK-8 assay, wound healing assay and transwell migration assay were performed to measure cell proliferation and migration of VSMCs. The miR-137-targeted 3'untranslated region of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5) was confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. Platelet-derived growth factor-bb (PDGF-bb) treatment enhanced cell proliferation and suppressed the expression of miR-137 in VSMCs. The gain-of-function and loss-of-function assays showed that overexpression of miR-137 suppressed the cell proliferation and migration, and also inhibited the expression of matrix genes of VSMCs; down-regulation of miR-137 had the opposite effects on VSMCs. Bioinformatics analysis and luciferase report assay results showed that IGFBP-5 was a direct target of miR-137, and miR-137 overexpression suppressed the IGFBP-5 expression and down-regulation of miR-137 increased the IGFBP-5 expression in VSMCs. PDGF-bb treatment also increased the IGFBP-5 mRNA expression. In addition, enforced expression of IGFBP-5 reversed the inhibitory effects of miR-137 on cell proliferation and migration of VSMCs. More importantly, overexpression of miR-137 also suppressed the activity of mTOR/STAT3 signaling in VSMCs. Taken together, the results suggest that miR-137 may suppress cell proliferation and migration of VSMCs via targeting IGFBP-5 and modulating mTOR/STAT3 signaling pathway.