Recent data have shown that piperlongumine (PL), an important component of Piper longum fruits, is known to possess anti-inflammatory and vascular-protective activities. This study aimed to examine the therapeutic effects and underlying mechanisms of PL on lupus-prone MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Female MRL-Fas(lpr) mice were intraperitoneally treated with PL (2.4 mg kg(-1) d(-1)) for 10 weeks, and the proteinuria level was biweekly monitored. After the mice were euthanized, serum biochemical parameters and renal damage were determined. Splenocytes of MRL-Fas(lpr) mice were isolated for in vitro study. Treatment of the mice with PL significantly attenuated the progression of proteinuria and glomerulonephritis. The improvement was accompanied by decreased serum levels of nephritogenic anti-dsDNA antibodies, IL-6, IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α. Treatment of the mice with PL suppressed the frequency of Th17 cells and increased the regulatory T cells (Tregs). In vitro, the levels of IL-6, IL-17, IL-23 and TNF-α were significantly decreased in the cultures of splenocytes from PL-treated mice compared with those from vehicle-treated mice. In addition, PL treatment impeded activation of the JAK/STAT3 signaling in splenocytes. Of great important, the survival of MRL-Fas(lpr) mice were improved by PL treatment. In summary, PL effectively ameliorates lupus syndrome in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice by suppressing the pathogenic Th17 cells and increasing the Tregs as well as inhibiting activation of the JAK/STAT3 signaling pathway. This study sheds new light on the immune-modulatory role of PL.