Background: Sepsis coincides with altered gene expression in different tissues. Accumulating evidence has suggested that microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs are important molecules involved in the crosstalk with various pathways pertinent to innate immunity, mitochondrial functions, and apoptosis. Methods: We searched articles indexed in PubMed (MEDLINE), EMBASE and Europe PubMed Central databases using the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) or Title/Abstract words ("microRNA", "long non-coding RNA", "circular RNA", "sepsis" and/or "septic shock") from inception to Sep 2016. Studies investigating the role of host-derived microRNA, long non-coding RNA, and circular RNA in the pathogenesis of and as biomarkers or therapeutics in sepsis were included. Data were extracted in terms of the role of non-coding RNAs in pathogenesis, and their applicability for use as biomarkers or therapeutics in sepsis. Two independent researchers assessed the quality of studies using a modified guideline from the Systematic Review Center for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE), a tool based on the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias tool. Results: Observational studies revealed dysregulation of non-coding RNAs in septic patients. Experimental studies confirmed their crosstalk with JNK/NF-ΚB and other cellular pathways pertinent to innate immunity, mitochondrial function, and apoptosis. Of the included studies, the SYRCLE scores ranged from 3 to 7 (average score of 4.55). This suggests a moderate risk of bias. Of the 10 articles investigating non-coding RNAs as biomarkers, none of them included a validation cohort. Selective reporting of sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating curve was common. Conclusions: Although non-coding RNAs appear to be good candidates as biomarkers and therapeutics for sepsis, their differential expression across tissues complicated the process. Further investigation on organ-specific delivery of these regulatory molecules may be useful. © 2016 The Author(s).