Background and aimThe association with obesity of a common variant near the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene (rs17782313) has been indicated in various studies. Adherence to dietary quality indices also have shown to have potential favorable effects on obesity-related health outcomes. However, no study has examined the interaction between rs17782313 and the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) score and the Mediterranean Dietary Score (MDS) on cardio-metabolic risk factors and hypothalamic hormones. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine whether adherence to these dietary quality indices modifies the association of the MC4R rs17782313 polymorphism with cardio-metabolic risk factors and hypothalamic hormones among obese adults.MethodTwo hundred eighty-eight healthy obese adults were recruited in this cross-sectional study. Diet quality indices, including DASH score and MDS, were calculated from a validated 147-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). MC4R s17782313 genotypes were determined by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). An ANCOVA multivariate interaction model was used to assess the gene-diet interaction.ResultsSignificant interactions were detected between DASH score and MC4R rs17782313 genotypes on systolic blood pressure (SBP), atherogenic index of plasma (AIP), and serum glucose and triglyceride (TG) among the female group (pInteraction < 0.05). In the male group, there were gene-DASH and gene-MDS interactions in relation to serum glucose concentration and plasma α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) levels, but these were found only in multi-adjusted interaction models (pInteraction < 0.05). In addition, there was a significant interaction between MC4R rs17782313 polymorphism and DASH score on plasma agouti-related peptide (AgRP) concentrations in the female group in a multivariate interaction model (pInteraction < 0.05). An inverse association between DASH score and chance of having the CC genotype in a multivariate-adjusted model among women was also revealed.ConclusionMC4R rs17782313 interacts with healthy dietary pattern (DASH score and MDS) to influence cardio-metabolic risk factors and hypothalamic hormones in obese individuals. Prospective cohort studies are needed to further assess these findings.