Previous studies demonstrated significant roles of autophagy in the pathogenesis of sepsis, but few studies focused on the effect of autophagy-related SNPs on sepsis susceptibility. In this present study, five polymorphisms of ATG5/ATG16L1 were investigated for the possible risk on sepsis in a Chinese Han population. Our results showed that ATG5 expression levels decreased with the severity of sepsis, and rs506027 T > C and rs510432 G > A were associated with sepsis progression and mortality. Moreover, the rs506027 TT and rs510432 GG carriers also exhibited increased expression levels of ATG5. Functional assays showed that ATG5 knockdown elevated the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines in THP-1 cells, and the extracted mononuclear cell of the risk C-A carriers exhibited decreased ATG5 expression levels, leading to enhanced releases of TNF-α and IL-1β under LPS stimulation in vitro. Furthermore, ATG5 T-G haplotype mutation showed higher promoter activities compared to C-A haplotype mutation, suggesting the effect of these SNPs on ATG5 gene transcription. Taken together, these results above indicated that these two ATG5 promoter polymorphisms may be functional and clinically significant for sepsis progression, underscoring its potentially therapeutic implications for sepsis and other inflammatory diseases.